An employee who was employed as a Chef at an International Hotel was carrying out his employment duties when he was subjected to horrific bullying, harassment, victimisation, abuse and inappropriate conduct by his supervisor during and in the course of his employment. There was no basis whatsoever for the worker to be subjected to such unreasonable conduct in his working environment.
The employee lodged a complaint with the employer about the bullying, harassment and victimisation continued over a period of time.
As a result, the employee broke down at work suffering a significant Psychological/Psychiatric injury. He lodged a complaint, incident report and claim form with the Workers Compensation Insurer for the employer. The Employer carried out an investigation of the allegations. Despite an independent co-employee who provided a statement supporting the injured worker being subjected to unnecessary bullying, harassment and victimisation and inappropriate conduct at the hands of his supervisor, the Workers Compensation Insurer denied the claim.
The injured worker challenged the denial of liability, with the assistance of his legal representatives.
The injured work succeeded in establishing that he had been subjected to unreasonable and unnecessary bullying, harassment, victimisation and inappropriate conduct during the said cause of his employment against his employer. As a result the Workers Compensation Insurer was required to continue to pay the injured workers weekly payments and treatment expenses right through until the settlement of his work injury damages negligence claim.
After receiving Psychological/Psychiatric treatment, the injured worker was assessed by way of whole person impairment under AMA 5 in order to pursue a lump sum claim for permanent impairment and pain and suffering. To receive any award for such permanent impairment and pain and suffering, an injured worker must reach a threshold of 15% whole person impairment under AMA 5.
The initial Medical Assessment Certificate certified the injured worker below 10% whole person impairment under AMA 5. An Application For Reconsideration was filed. That Application failed. The injured worker then appealed the totality of the Medical Assessment Certificate on the basis that it contained a demonstrable error and that the assessment was made on the basis of the incorrect criteria. The matter was referred to the Registrar of the Workers Compensation Commission was satisfied that at least one of the grounds for appeal was made out in accordance with the Workplace Injury and Workers Compensation Act 1998. Accordingly, the matter was referred to the Medical Appeal Panel to determine the matter. Both parties filed and served submissions to the Medical Appeal Panel to determine the matter. The Medical Appeal Panel determined that it was not necessary for the injured worker to undergo a further medical examination because there was sufficient factual and medical evidence before the Medical Appeal Panel for them to determine the matter.
The Medical Appeal Panel revoked the initial Medical Assessment Certificate and issued a new Medical Assessment Certificate which certified that the injured worker was suffering more than 20% whole person impairment under AMA 5 in relation to his psychological/psychiatric injury.
As a result of that determination, the matter was referred back to the Arbitrator to determine the injured workers entitlement for permanent impairment and pain and suffering. The Applicant Worker received a significant award for permanent impairment and pain and suffering based upon the certification by the Medical Appeal Panel.
Thereafter, the injured worker obtained expert evidence which established that he had an entitlement to pursue a work injury damages negligence claim for negligence against the employer and its unsafe system of work.
The injured worker proceeded with a Pre-Filing Statement and the matter was taken to a Mediation Hearing before the Workers Compensation Commission where a Mediator was appointed to mediate between the parties in respect of the work injury damages negligence claim.
The work injury damages negligence claim Mediation Hearing was resolved for almost 1 million dollars award in favour of the injured worker which included his weekly payments and medical treatment expenses.
The injured worker was overwhelmed by the verdict and the manner in which the claim pursued on his behalf by his legal representatives.
Any employee is entitled to work in their working environment without being subjected to unreasonable bullying, harassment, victimisation and inappropriate conduct either by the employer and/or its agents and servants such a co-workers.
If you are subjected to such unreasonable conduct and suffer a psychological/psychiatric injury, you may be entitled to receive an award for lump sum for permanent impairment and also possible be able to pursue a negligence claim against your employer for the unsafe system of work.
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